The effect of a cadaver-derived vascular plasminogen activator (VA) on the degradation of fibrinogen, soluble fibrin monomer, and fibrin was studied and compared with the effect of equivalent fibrinolytic potencies of streptokinase (SK), urokinase (UK), and plasmin. The proteolytic activity of the three activators and plasmin was determined by a standard fibrin plate assay and was expressed in CTA units from a UK reference curve. Fibrinogen degradation was measured by clottable protein determinations and by an electrophoretic technique sensitive to small changes in the molecular weight of fibrinogen. When VA was incubated in plasma, no degradation of fibrinogen occurred, whereas rapid fibrinolysis took place after the plasma was clotted. By contrast, equivalent potencies of SK, UK, and plasmin caused extensive fibrinogenolysis. Since the plasmin added and that formed by the three activators had equivalent fibrinolytic activity, the failure of VA to induce fibrinogen degradation was attributed to antiactivators rather than antiplasmins. VA activity in plasma was consumed by clotting, whereas the antiactivator activity remained in the serum, suggesting dissociation of the VA-antiactivator complex on the fibrin clot. Fibrinogen and its soluble derivatives resisted degradation by VA in plasma because a solid phase appeared necessary for the complex to dissociate. The findings indicated that the degradation of fibrinogen or soluble fibrin in blood as a result of plasminogen activation by VA was unlikely to occur due to a large excess of antiactivator activity. Alternative pathways for their catabolism are discussed.

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